Kingsley

Kingsley

In spite of the peace initiative, a number of travel agents told one of our correspondents that Nigerians were not buying tickets to South Africa, except for special reasons.

I haven’t sold tickets to Johannesburg for two weeks – Agent

“I have not booked a single ticket to Johannesburg in the last two weeks,” a travel agent, who did not want to be named revealed.

“Nobody is going there at the moment. It is as if there is a total boycott except it is extremely important. Since the problem between Nigeria and South Africa began, the only people travelling are those that had booked their flights long before now and students that need to return to school and have no choice but to resume,” the agent said.

Another Lagos-based agent said the situation had degenerated to the point that special travel packages that were put together for tourists to the country had either been cancelled or diverted to some other destinations as people were no longer interested.

Nigerian tourists changing destinations from SA to Dubai

According to the agent, Nigerian tourists are changing their vacation destinations to Dubai, Mauritius and other places.

“There are people with pending tickets that have requested change of airline or destination. Even people scheduled to travel; some have said they no longer want to travel to South Africa,” he said.

Findings show that South African Airways, which operates daily flights between Lagos and Johannesburg, has been affected.

South African Airways enjoys a near monopoly on the route being the only airline that offers direct flights from Lagos to Johannesburg; other airlines on that route such as Kenyan Airway and Rwandair have to get to Nairobi and Kigali respectively, before taking off to Johannesburg. The airline, when contacted, declined to comment on the issue.

I left SA when attacks became frequent – Mother of two

Meanwhile, a woman who was among those evacuated on Wednesday shared her experience, saying that she decided to leave South Africa when the attacks became frequent.

The single mother of two, Ololade Atere, from Oyo State, said her nail studio was destroyed in the recent xenophobic attacks.

Atere said, “My experience was bad. I was into fixing of nails and one day I got a call that my shop had been destroyed. I decided to come home because the violence became too much and I couldn’t keep running with my two kids.

“I lived in South Africa for five years, but I have no plans of going back. I am tired of the violence. I have to be safe. I am home now. I have to find a job or business.

“I left Nigeria when I was pregnant. The intention was to have my baby, have some travel experience and return. I wanted to come back after I had my first baby but people convinced me to stay. But now, I have had enough.”

S’Africa said my children were its citizens – Mother

Atere said she was supposed to be among the first batch of Nigerians to return, but was stopped at the airport.

“They said I couldn’t travel with my kids because I gave birth to them in South Africa and they are citizens,” she said.

She added that she was made to swear an affidavit before she was allowed to bring the children with her to Nigeria.

‘I left my child in S’Africa’

Another returnee, who identified himself as Uchenbi, told the News Agency of Nigeria that South Africans harboured hostility towards Nigerians.

He stated, “South Africans are angry at Nigerians for no reason and would blame them for whatever reason they deem fit.”

Uchenbi, who was in South Africa for 12 years before he returned to Nigeria on Wednesday, said he left his child in South Africa, while she was sleeping.

The man, who is married to a South African, said his wife would have suffered, if he had been killed in South Africa.

S’African police didn’t probe my husband killing – Woman

Another returnee, Blessing Chioma, accused the South African police of inaction when her husband was killed in 2012.

Chioma said, ”I’m coming from South Africa, Johannesburg; I was married to a Nigerian, but South Africans killed him during the xenophobic attacks. I reported the case to the police, they know about it; they look for the guys, but you won’t know them because they come in groups, so nothing was done; the case is closed,” she said.

”Since then I’ve been coping with the children, but I returned them to Nigeria because I was no more meeting up in training them. So they’re here now in Nigeria; I came back to take care of them, but we came with nothing because they burnt our shops.”

 

Source: Nigerian Eye

MultiChoice is reducing the price of DStv by up to 37% in various African countries, but it is uncertain whether it will extend this to South Africa.

The company recently informed subscribers in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique that their DStv subscription prices would be reduced from 1 September 2019.

Monthly DStv and GOtv subscription fees across East Africa will be slashed to make the service more competitive against streaming services.

MultiChoice Africa told TV with Thinus that not all markets where it operates would have the same price changes.

MultiChoice Uganda, for example, will reduce monthly DStv subscription fees by up to 30%, while Kenyan subscribers will see price cuts of between 5% and 37%.

“Each country has different cost structures influenced by local dynamics such as inflation, content costs, foreign exchange rates, local taxes and overheads,” said MultiChoice Africa’s head of corporate affairs Reatile Tekateka.

“We’ve done a lot of research into what pay-TV costs in other parts of the world and we believe that our DStv and GOtv services offer good value for money in the countries in which we operate,” she said.

MultiChoice Kenya said the price cuts “will grant more of our customers access to the complete world of exciting entertainment channels at a lower price”.

MultiChoice South Africa responds

MultiChoice’s senior manager for corporate communications Benedict Maaga told MyBroadband that they review their DStv prices once a year when they do their business planning.

“Our prices for the new year are announced before 1 April,” Maaga said.

“The price of DStv Premium in South Africa compares favourably with the pricing in other African countries.”

 

Credit: MyBroadband

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro looks set to boast a truck load of features – from a supercharged quadruple-camera set-up, support for 5G networks, an all-screen design with improved facial recognition... the list goes on.

But one thing that will not be coming to the Mate 30 Pro is support for Google apps.

Google has confirmed the next-generation Huawei Mate will not be able to launch with any Google applications or services, which means no Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Hangouts, and even no Google Play Store to install third-party apps like SnapChat, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, as well as buy eBooks, films and music tracks and other media.

The access to Google services has been restricted due to the ongoing US trade ban on Huawei. The Shenzhen-based company will still be able to use Android on its devices, since the mobile operating system is open-source at its core. However, Google-owned apps and services that are separate from the OS will be restricted.

Huawei has been granted a three-month extension from the United States Commerce Department that runs out on November 19, 2019 to enable it to "provide service and support, including software updates or patches, to existing Huawei handsets that were available to the public on or before May 16, 2019."

However, this only applies to smartphones that were already available when the ban came into effect earlier this year. This means Huawei will be able to bring Android 10 features to the Huawei P30, Huawei P30 Pro, and numerous others, but will not be able to do the same on the foldable Huawei Mate X, or the Huawei Mate 30 series.

Of course, that won't trouble customers in China, which hasn't had access to the Google Play Store for years as the Californian company does not operate its services within the country. As such, there are hundreds of competing app stores – each with a widely different selection of apps and services available.

But it could seriously damage sales in the UK and Europe, where the Mate 30 series will be competing with the likes of the OnePlus 7 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, and a host of other Android flagship phones that have access to the Google Play Store and all of the apps listed above. It seems unlikely that customers – no matter how much they love Huawei software, industry-leading camera features, and industrial design – will be willing to forgo the likes of WhatsApp, SnapChat, Netflix, Amazon, Google Maps, Prime Video, and more.

That's why Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO Richard Yu has confirmed plans to include a workaround to let customers install their favourite Google services and apps on the handset.

In response to a question about whether the company would include safeguards to stop users installing Google apps onto the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro by other means than the Play Store, Richard Yu said the process would be "quite easy for users", noting that Android's open-source nature allows "a lot of possibilities".

Of course, whether customers will be suitably wooed by the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro hardware to put-up with the colossal faff of installing Android apps without the ease of the Google Play Store remains to be seen.

There's also security concerns with encouraging users to side-load software onto Android as this leaves the handset open to malware. We've already seen Cyber-criminals take advantage of the popularity of Fortnite, which is not available from the Play Store and needs to be side-loaded, to serve players with malware.

 

Credit: T3

Nigeria’s biggest tomato plant is counting on the government’s restriction of food imports to sustain operations after going idle again six months after it resumed operations from an almost three-year shut down.

When Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, decided to set up the plant, it was with the clear goal of supplanting imports of tomato paste mostly from China but that has suffered setbacks.

Currently, the 1,200-ton-a-day tomato-processing factory near the West African nation’s northern city of Kano is closed, unable to get its required feed stock as farmers have switched to other crops at the beginning of the rainy season in May.

The plant was idle for more than two years until March this year over a supply disruption partly caused by a price dispute with farmers. Even after the disagreement was resolved, the factory was unable to ramp up production beyond 20% of its capacity due to inadequate supply of tomatoes, as most of the farmers lacked the needed credit to expand production.

The company is losing at least 30 million naira every month with employees idle, according to the managing director of Dangote Farms, Abdulkareem Kaita.

Nigeria consume an average of 2.3 million tons of tomatoes a year and produce just about the same amount, according to a 2017 report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Without adequate storage facilities and an efficient means of transporting them to the markets, about 45% of harvested tomatoes go to waste. Africa’s most populous country imports about 1.3 million tons of the red vegetable to fill the gap, mostly from China and other parts of Asia. Nigeria is the third largest importer of the commodity in Africa.

“We knew tomato is a seasonal crop before we started as it’s the case in China and Europe,” Kaita said. “What we set out to do was reduce the post harvest loss yearly to feed the factory.”

Unfazed by the problems, Dangote Farms is pushing ahead with its original objective of replacing tomato-paste imports. With President Muhammadu Buhari making the reduction of food imports a key objective of his administration, the Nigerian central bank is implementing a new credit plan intended to help the farmers grow tomatoes all year round.

Dangote Farms has also acquired a 5,000-hectare farm to grow a high-yield variety of tomatoes to meet its factory’s requirements, while introducing the same strain to other farms to increase their productivity.

“With this, the output of the farmers would tremendously improve and the processing factory would record ample supply,” Kaita said.

Kaita also wants the government to enforce its decision to curtail tomato-paste imports to reduce incidents of dumping of subsidized paste on the Nigerian market.

“The effective implementation of the government’s policy in restricting tomato paste importation will guarantee more investment in the tomato value chain, which will eventually lead to self-sufficiency in few years to come,” Kaita said.

 

Credit: Bloomberg

South Africa's main opposition parthy The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that almost 70% of PRASA controlled train stations do not have CCTV cameras.

A response to a DA Parliamentary Question has revealed that of the 585 train stations under PRASA’s control, only 181 stations have at least one CCTV camera. This means that only 30.9% of stations in the country have at least one CCTV cameras.

In the Western Cape, where rail safety has been particularly out of hand, only 42 out of 122 stations in the province have CCTV cameras. This means only 34.4% of the province’s stations have at least one CCTV camera.

These are alarming figures considering the fact that crime is on the increase. In 2018 alone, an estimated 495 people lost their lives while making use of our trains and 2079 were injured. Clearly the ANC government cannot be trusted to keep commuters safe.

To make matters worse, around 26.8% of all the cameras installed nationally are not working.

How can we have effective policing at train stations when most stations do not have cameras, and those that do are not guaranteed to have operational ones?

PRASA’s old, outdated and stoic infrastructure places many commuters across the country under constant threat of being attacked by criminals, due to the state of lawlessness and lack of law enforcement at PRASA stations.

The table below shows a total of installed CCTV cameras at PRASA managed railway stations per region:

The DA is of the view that policing and train services should be handed over to competent provinces such as the Western Cape, as the national government is incapable and clearly unwilling to keep our people safe.

Unlike the ANC, the DA has a rail plan that will create a safe and well-managed railway system which put commuters first and will ensure job security. The plan is based on four aspects:

Stabilising and modernising the current rail system;
Merging Transnet and PRASA under the Department of Transport;
Ceding control of Metrorail services to Metros; and,
Diversifying Ownership.

Poor railway infrastructure and mismanagement makes it hard for South Africans to reliably depend on trains to deliver them to their destinations safely and on time.

Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile operate, Econet Wireless is having Tesla batteries installed at its base stations around the country as a backup to electricity shortages currently hitting the country.

The power utility company, Zesa (Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority), early this year, introduced 18-hour long load shedding schedules to contain the situation as it is producing less electricity due to low water levels in Lake Kariba, the country’s largest source of power, exacerbated by drought.

Zesa, which also relies on importing power from neighboring countries, owes South Africa’s Eskom around $23 million in unpaid bills. At present Eskom supplies 400 megawatts to Zimbabwe which is not enough to restore the situation to normalcy.

Zimbabwe has had cash shortages as its economy continues to fall and mobile money is essential for most daily transactions by Zimbabweans. Large chunks of the country’s economy runs through electronic systems and mobile money, which is dominated by Econet’s Ecocash with 95% market share. It’s estimated around 5 million transactions a day moving more than $200 million.

All this means local mobile network base stations need to always be on regardless of electricity shortages. In July, Econet generators failed to kick in after a power outage forcing a mobile money blackout for a day. Most citizens were stranded and economists estimated the country lost millions of dollars.

With fuel shortages and unstable prices, mobile operators are finding it hard to use diesel-powered generators to back up their stations and have turned to the Palo Alto, California-based automaker and storable-energy company Tesla to provide them with batteries to keep providing services to their subscribers.

Tesla’s larger-than-life founder Elon Musk, who was born in neighboring South Africa, launch the Powerwall in 2015. The residential version is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to be mounted in a garage or on the side of a house. The device, the size of a small refrigerator can store power from a home’s solar panels, or connect to the electrical grid, storing up electricity when rates are low and providing backup electricity supply in case of a blackout.

The lithium-ion batteries stores energy and can stand up to 10 hours, enough time to power up a station until electricity supplies are restored in some parts of the country and Econet-owned solar specialist Distribution Power Africa (DPA) is currently doing the installations.

The commercial Powerwalls which costs $6,500 each will be used when solar panels cannot generate enough electricity during the night or when there is bad weather.

DPA chief executive officer Norman Moyo recently told Bloomberg his company is installing 520 Powerwall batteries, with two going into each base station of the 1,300 base stations in the country. He said base stations power supplies were critical considering that for transactions to run in Zimbabwe telecom network should be up adding that “Telcoms have become the lifeblood of the economy.”

 

Read More: Quartz Africa

Middle East geopolitics have come back with a vengeance to hit the oil market. What everybody feared has happened.

An attack has penetrated the defenses of Saudi Arabia’s massive Abqaiq oil processing facility, the heart of the kingdom’s oil production and export infrastructure, causing an unknown amount of damage. Crude prices will react and emergency stockpiles will be tapped.

Fires at the plant were brought under control within hours, but the flow of crude from Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest exporter, will almost certainly be affected, although we don’t yet know by how much or for how long. Traders who have shrugged off tensions in the Middle East for months will respond to this attack when markets open on Monday.

The top of the value spike will rely on how a lot we all know in regards to the extent of the injury and the way lengthy it is going to take to restore. An absence of knowledge will lead merchants to imagine the worst.

The Abqaiq crude processing plant is the only most necessary facility within the Saudi oil sector. In 2018 it processed about half of the dominion’s crude oil manufacturing, in line with a prospectus printed in May for the state oil firm’s first worldwide bond. That’s roughly 5 million barrels a day, or one in each 20 barrels of oil used worldwide.

Abqaiq is extra necessary to the Saudi oil sector than the dominion’s Persian Gulf export terminals at Ras Tanura and Ju’aymah, or the Strait of Hormuz that hyperlinks the Gulf to the Indian Ocean and the excessive seas. Crude might be diverted away from the Persian Gulf and Hormuz by pumping it throughout the nation to the Red Sea by way of the East-West oil pipeline. But it can not bypass Abqaiq. The East-West pipeline begins at Abqaiq and output from the enormous Ghawar, Shaybah and Khurais fields is all processed there, so an assault on the ability will influence crude flows to export terminals on each coasts.

The newest assault comes simply months after drones, allegedly launched from Iraq by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, focused pumping stations on the oil pipeline. The injury attributable to that earlier assault was minimal, however highlighted the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, even when situated tons of of miles from the nation’s borders.

So what occurs now?

Saudi Arabia will most likely search to keep up export ranges as a lot as attainable by supplying prospects from stockpiles. It holds crude in storage tanks within the kingdom, in addition to at websites in Egypt, Japan and the Netherlands. But it has been working its crude hoard down because the starting of 2016 and it is now again at ranges not seen since 2008, in line with knowledge from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative. That means the dominion has a lot much less to attract on than it did three years in the past.

The assault can even check stockpiles in oil-consuming nations. Members of the International Energy Agency are required to carry 90 days’ price of oil imports in emergency shares and people shall be pressed into service if the outage at Abqaiq is extended. Non-member nations like China and India have additionally been increase their very own emergency reserves. Those, too, shall be pressed into service.

Neighboring nations who, simply days in the past, had been being exhorted to stay to output quotas agreed in December will now pump as a lot as they’ll to make up for any losses from Saudi Arabia.

The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq will all increase output as a lot as they’re ready. But the one nation with plenty of spare capability, Iran, gained’t see any easing of the restrictions positioned on its oil gross sales by the U.S. Quite the alternative. Its help for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who’ve claimed duty for the assault on Abqaiq, will be certain that any easing of the stress being exerted on it stays a distant prospect.

Credit: Bloomberg

Angola is attracting renewed interest from Chinese business owners since it lifted curbs on money transfers, following an exodus of tens of thousands of Chinese amid an economic crisis.

Africa’s second-largest oil producer introduced foreign-exchange policies that have made it easy to transfer money legally, Xu Ning, chairman of the Angola-China Industrial and Commerce Association, said in an interview in the capital, Luanda. That’s drawing a “new group” of companies from China to Angola, mainly in the industrial sector, he said.

“The new government is doing things that make it safe to invest in Angola,” Xu said. “We’re much better than before.”

Angola has had the highest number of Chinese workers of any country in sub-Saharan Africa for almost a decade, reaching a peak of 50,526 in 2013, data from John Hopkins University’s China-Africa Research Initiative show. These figures don’t include traders, shopkeepers and independent business owners.

More than 100,000 Chinese workers, traders and businessmen left the country after the 2014 oil-price crash triggered an economic crisis and froze most construction projects, according to Xu. Relying on oil for more than 90% of exports, Angola kept a tight grip on its currency even as dollars ran dry, leaving hundreds of companies struggling to pay overseas suppliers.

Arbitrary Detentions

Under President Joao Lourenco, who assumed office two years ago, the central bank eased restrictions on money transfers and it’s become more appealing for businesses to get dollars from official channels, according to Xu. Today, the official exchange rate for the kwanza is 369 per dollar, compared to a black-market rate of 530 per dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares to an official rate of about 166 kwanza per dollar and a street rate that was twice as high in September 2017.

Another significant change is that Angolan immigration officials have stopped arbitrarily detaining Chinese nationals and that the police responds to and acts on complaints, Xu said.

Chinese investors have been kidnapped in the past or fallen victim to other crimes, China’s ambassador to Angola, Gong Tao, told reporters on Tuesday, without giving details.

Angola’s public debt to China currently stands at $22.8 billion, with recent direct investments including an assembly plant for fishing vessels, an aluminum factory and a brewery, he said.

Credit: Bloomberg

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